Learning Total Trust
From outside appearances, no one would describe Jenna M. Engelsvold, a 33-year-old cardiac nurse practitioner at one of the best hospitals in the world, as fearful. But Engelsvold says she struggled to learn to trust Jesus completely regarding obstacles at several key points in her life.
Engelsvold grew up wanting to be a doctor, but fearing failure and the possibility of rejection, she decided to become a nurse instead.
“I was really handicapping myself,” she says. “Nobody else was holding me back.”
In 2011, Engelsvold earned her nursing degree from Northwest University, the Assemblies of God school in Kirkland, Washington. She says the educational experience solidified the foundation for the career she has now.
A few years into her work, Engelsvold decided she wanted to become a nurse practitioner. At a Bible study, Engelsvold’s small group leader encouraged her to fervently pursue the Lord’s calling on her life.
“Don’t look at the giants,” Sara J. Reed, 46, told her. “Just look at the promise of God.”
Engelsvold knew she would always carry regret it if she didn’t apply to a prestigious University of Washington program. She gained entrance, and later accepted a position at Seattle Children’s Hospital, where she now works with children who have undergone or are preparing to undergo heart surgery.
“She has enjoyed favor because of her obedience to Christ,” Reed says. She commends Engelsvold’s hard work and faithfulness in helping her achieve her goals.
Besides preparing children for procedures, Engelsvold also has the difficult task of speaking with parents about what to expect.
“You don’t have to be a pastor in a pulpit to say that your work is ministry,” she says. “I’m amazed at how much impact you can have when you just sit down with a parent and listen.”
Although not allowed to directly share her faith with patients unless specifically asked about it, Engelsvold says she focuses on showing Christ to them through her actions.
Once, a nervous young girl in her care being prepped for heart surgery expressed uncertainty about how her scar would heal. Engelsvold noticed that the girl had a stuffed animal with a hole in it, and decided to explain the procedure using the toy.
“As I sutured up this doggy’s hole, I was able to help this child process what was going to happen,” she says.
Engelsvold advises those who are looking to make a change in their careers or step into the next season of the Lord’s calling on their life to examine what makes them excited and what they think God is putting on their heart.
“Then just start making decisions and walking along that path because it’s so much easier for God to redirect you if you’re in motion than it is for God to get you to move if you’re not going anywhere,” she says. “The worst thing that you could do is not do anything, then looking back and wondering, What could I have done if I had just tried?”